Category Archives: life lessons

shootings

Another Day, Two More Shootings

I wrote about a shooting that happened in my neighborhood just two days ago, and this morning the news reported that there were two more unrelated shootings in my neighboorhood at 3:45 AM today. They found one man at the gas station, and they found the other man down the street from my house; both of them were Hispanic men in their 20’s. Less than 1/4 of these shootings make it on the news. Usually what happens is everyone thinks everyone else is going to call the police or 911. No one wants to get involved, so these incidents often go unreported. I think if the police had a better relationship with the people in this neighborhood people might be more inclined to help law enforcement. However, if the police show us they don’t care, people tend to return that favor.

I was lucky enough to sleep through this one, so I didn’t hear all the gunshots early this morning. I’m a heavy sleeper though because I once slept through 17 gunshots after finals week one semester.

It’s sad, but truthfully the police don’t care if you call in that you heard gunshots, they barely even care if you call in a body. It’s just another day to them in this area. That’s why it takes 45 minutes or more to respond to reports in this neighborhood, and that’s if they bother to come at all. Theoretically, a pizza delivery man would get to the crime scene before a police officer, if the pizza places in my neighborhood still delivered here. They stopped a few years because they feel their drivers would be in danger. They stopped accepting orders from the Converse area because the drivers would get robbed all the time.

This week started off with two shootings. It won’t be the last. It won’t even be the last for the month. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were another shooting later tonight.

Check out a similar post called The Piercing Sound of a Gunshot

gunshot

The Piercing Sound of a Gunshot

It was 8 PM. I was posting some links on MCXV and working on my website when I heard it. I had listened to this sound a thousand times before. It was a sound almost more familiar than my voice. The first shot was paralyzing. It took only seconds to realize what was coming next. The second shot seemed louder than the first. The third shot was deafening.

That was the moment when I fully realized I couldn’t move. Seconds of silence passed before I heard the retaliation shots. I heard one, two, three, four, five, six shots. One right after another. I felt scared; My brain couldn’t comprehend what was happening. I was in shock. I had never been this scared before. This was not the first time I’ve ever heard gunshots. In fact, it happens almost twice a week in my neighborhood. Something about this night is different.

I went online to listen to the police scanners, and they were strangely offline. Now I won’t find out what happened until I watch the news in the morning, that’s if anyone of importance got killed. I would not be the least bit surprised if I never find out what happened tonight. Truthfully, I wouldn’t be surprised if no one ever finds out about this shooting. Most of the shootings in my neighborhood go unreported. It’s not hard to see why.

San Antonio is a beautiful city, but with the quick population increases, there has been a tremendous rise in violent crime over the past two years. My neighborhood is notorious for having shootings on a weekly basis, and developers still decided to start building $180,000 homes about 2 or 3 blocks away from my house. I hope the new mayor can get a handle on the rise in crime. We all know the crime rate is going to get worse before it gets better.

Check out this follow-up blog that happened a few days later: Another Day, Two More Shootings

failure is not a bad thing

Why Failure Is Not A Bad Thing

If you haven’t heard of Quora, you should make an account there if you love writing. It’s a question and answer website where people can seek a reply to thought provoking questions. It’s perfect for when you have writer’s block and just want to write something. I liked one of the questions so much that I decided to write an extended response of one of my answers. I started there on July 11, 2017, and at the time of publishing this I have 70K views on my answers.

You can check out my Quora page and follow me if you want to.

One of the questions I found that really struck a chord with me was: Is failing at something caused by a lack of talent or by not trying hard enough? Here is a link to my original Quora answer. I posted something short because I didn’t think about telling the full story.

To answer this questions, I wrote about a memory from my childhood when I was in the Girl Scouts. I was 8 years old when this happened and I was not prepared for this to happen to me. My parents had always raised me to have a good work ethic and not to be a sore loser. So here’s what happened: I was a brownie in the girl scouts at my elementary school and I already had about 6 or 7 badges.

I still have the sash to this day in my closet with space where my cookie badge should have been. I’m surprised at how little the boxes of Girl Scout cookies had gone up. When I sold them in the early 2000’s they were only about $3 each. I wanted that cookie badge more than anything. I was a cute kid, so it wasn’t that hard to sell them.

No child should have to go through that.

If you can believe it, I sold 20 cases of cookies, which if you don’t know are around 500 boxes and that amounted to about $1,500. On the way to drop off the money, I was so happy. I knew there was no way that any of the other girls would sell more cookies that I did. I thought I was a shoe-in to win the cookie badge. Unfortunately, that’s not what happened. The reason why still breaks my heart and makes me sad even as I’m writing this. I didn’t win the cookie badge because the troop leader’s daughter got jealous that I had sold so many cookies and her mother stole my cookie money and gave the badge to her daughter.

I was only 8 years old and I hate that her mom gave into her child’s demands like that. She never took into consideration how it would make me feel, and I quit the Girl Scouts shortly after that. So in response to the question, failure is not always caused by lack of talent or by not trying hard enough. I learned a hard lesson about life and I realized that failure is not always a bad thing. It could be the push you need to try harder in order to succeed. It’s hard to call my accomplishment a failure, but I suppose it depends on your definition of failure.

I wrote another blog similar to this called You Never Know How Your Actions Will Affect People and that could have easily been the title of this blog post as well.
grandma vlog

[Vlog] Grandma’s House Was Never Empty

I started vlogging again and my first video is a tour of my great grandma’s house. I spent most of my weekends playing with my cousins because Grandma had taught us the importance of spending time together. At the time of recording, several years had passed since the last time I had been at that house. I even wrote about my experiences at my great grandma’s house in an essay for my TAKS test.

I have more vlogs and live streams that I have posted on my YouTube channel.

You always had to be at Grandma’s on Sunday. No excuses.

still struggling with adulthood

Why I’m Still Struggling With Adulthood

I’ll be turning 24 next month and I’ve been struggling with this idea of being an adult. I had previously written a blog about challenging myself to do more adult things.When I wrote the blog I had just turned 22, and I was starting the transition into adulthood. I am in a weird position for my age. I don’t drive or have a license, I still live with my parents, and I’m unemployed. I don’t receive any kind of government assistance because I don’t think I need it. I am perfectly capable of surviving without it because I know how to coupon. I have nothing against people who do get government assistance, it’s just not for me.

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I live with my parents

This is actually not that uncommon anymore for someone my age to still be living with their parents. I take care of my parents, not because I have to, but because I love my parents. They have supported me (both financially and emotionally) my whole life and I could never repay them for everything they have done for me. We are very fortunate to only have to pay $400 per month for rent, but also live in a very high crime area.

The sad thing is, there are people in my neighborhood who pay $1,000 for a similar house and have to deal with shootings every other night. The only reason that we pay so little is that my parents got their house in 1992 and their monthly price is grandfathered in. I live in San Antonio, and it’s one of the cheapest places to live, but we are also on par to becoming one of the most dangerous cities in the nation.

I don’t have a car

I had always thought it was weird that I didn’t drive at my age, but after talking with a lot of people I realized that I am not alone. I’m not afraid to admit that I’m terrified of being behind the wheel. I just recently pumped gas for the first time. I know that sounds crazy, but I really don’t do any driving whatsoever. It was just this year that I could actually sit in the driver’s seat without having a panic attack. I totally support the self-driving car movement and I honestly can’t wait until they become more mainstream. I honestly don’t see myself driving all the time anytime soon, but I may have to get my license just for emergencies. I honestly don’t mind taking the bus or carpooling, but sometimes time does not permit that.

No bills, No debt

Since I still live in with parents, I am blessed to not have any student debt. My parents paid out of pocket in payments for my school and I paid for my textbooks. But let’s be real, a semester’s worth of textbooks can be anywhere from $250 to $400. I’ve always told my mom that I would rather pay her back then pay back the bank or worse have to worry about student loans for the rest of my life. I would always take whatever free stuff they gave away at school and always took advantage of their free pizza days. As I said in my previous blog, I had never paid a single bill in my life at age 22. At 24, that is still true.

Instead of paying bills, I help my parents save money. It took weeks and lots of researching and calling to complain but I got our cell phone company to credit us $400 towards our bill because they had been overcharging us for months. I also saved them $250 on their cable bill by eliminating channels we never used or didn’t really need. It’s hard enough saving money without having to pay bills, I would really have no money if I had even one bill. I am fortunate enough to have family willing to help me.

My Mobile Library

I am so grateful to be able to do this mobile library. I have done so much work to make everything possible and I’m so happy that people have donated toys, books, bookmarks, pencils etc. I put a lot of my own money into this library and have used a lot of my own skills to get many things donated or very cheap. I basically created my dream job and wish that it could be a full-time job with funding but that won’t happen overnight and certainly not without lots of hard work and help. It’s really hard to something you love when you have no money to fund it, but I won’t ever let that stop me.

experiences

As Hard As It Seems We Need To Speak Up

While researching content for new blogs, I came across this post of a young girl who had been sexually assaulted on the bus far too many times and finally found the courage to speak up for herself.

My intention is not for this post to group all men in the same category because there are men out there who find this behavior repulsive and to that, I say thank you for being a decent human being. Understandably this girl was shaken after the experience and I applaud her effort for taking the time to process the event in a healthy manner by examining what happened and reflecting on it. She also took action by speaking up which is hard to do as a woman because we aren’t always sure that our concerns of feeling unsafe will be taken seriously. This girl who known as StitchesTheCub on Reddit (names have been omitted to protect her privacy) tries to make sense of the event by asking herself and the internet “why some men feel the need to take advantage of crowds to feel up other people’s bodies.”

The first time I was inappropriately touched was in 8th grade.

This statement is very powerful because for a lot of women this is real life. Many sexual assaults, both physical and verbal, start at an early age for women, and it’s usually around the time that they are just starting puberty. Things are already confusing enough at that age, there is absolutely no reason for a girl that young to be worrying about these kinds of events. Sadly this happens to thousands of women on a daily basis.

This is her story:

A couple hours ago, I was riding the bus home from my old high school where I was visiting a retiring teacher. It was an extremely crowded bus because the same line ran through at least a couple schools. A few stops away from where I was supposed to get off, I gave up my seat for an elderly man and started standing by the rear exit. Not a minute later, I felt fingers stroking my left butt cheek. I thought it was my imagination at first so I shrugged slightly away only to feel the fingers return. I was 100% sure those weren’t some stray bag at that point; those were human fingers stroking from my lower to upper butt. I was done. I’d gained confidence in high school thanks to mentioned teacher and I was sick and tired of being touched. I’ve gotten nothing but trouble from guys in college who just can’t take a damn hint. I was called a bitch for not giving them a chance (I have a boyfriend) so I did what I felt was right. I called him out on it. I turned to him, looked the middle age blond man straight in those sky blue eyes of his and said in the loudest voice I could manage, “Touch my butt one more time and I will report you.” I knew I had the right man. He met my gaze unblinkingly and slowly nodded. No one seemed to have paid attention or cared. But at that moment, I was relieved. When I got off, I found out that my sister was on the same bus and had squeezed onto the front of the bus. If she had gotten on the back door, my little sister could have been in my position instead. She could have been the one touched instead of me. And I know she wouldn’t have said a thing.

There is no shortage of similar experiences like this and the thread I found this post in had over a thousand comments of women describing their version of the same story. Instead of teaching women that they are to blame for these events, these men need to be taught that women are not sexual objects and that they are creating an unsafe environment for women everywhere. Any type of sexual assault is not okay, and I applaud this girl for doing what many believe they cannot do. It may not always seem like a good idea to call these men out because you fear for your life and safety, but as Desmond Tutu once said, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”

actions

You Never Know How Your Actions Affect People

image

With the popularity of Thirteen Reasons Why growing, I decided to write a blog about an impactful moment that I was a part of. I am a very open person so I want to share a very awkward memory that I had when I was a teenager. I think it’s important to share because sometimes you never know what will happen or how things will work out when you decide to do something. Sometimes what you do can really have an impact on someone else’s life, good or bad.

When I was in high school, I was in an organization called Civil Air Patrol which is an auxiliary of the United States Air Force. There weren’t that many girls when I first joined, but after a year or so there were at least a handful of girls. There was one girl named Melissa who was friends with the girls before she started coming to the meetings. The only person she didn’t know was me because my family didn’t live on base. I always had to have someone pick me up and take me to the meetings because we didn’t have a way to get on base. It was sweet of Melissa to invite me to her birthday party even though she didn’t know me. Her birthday party was going to be a bowling party and it was just going to be all girls. At the time, I was doing hand-painted tote bags so I made Melissa a tote bag that had Winnie the Pooh on it and her name in big letters. Her mom picked me up at a restaurant near the base and took me to the party. We waited for about 90 minutes before we realized that no one else was going to show up. It was so awkward because we weren’t friends, barely knew each other, and I was the only one who showed up to her party. I felt bad because she invited me thinking I would feel bad for being left out. Another 30 minutes went by and she decides to call her friend Emma. Apparently, Emma was with all the other girls that were supposed to go to the party and said she totally forgot about the party. I could tell that Melissa was sad because she told her she would just see her late instead of trying to meet up to try to salvage the party. I really hope that Melissa is okay because I never saw or heard from her after that. I had been sitting here trying to think of what to write, and this memory came to me, so I thought I would share just in case this helps someone make a friendly decision to help someone else.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I will make a small percentage of your purchase if you click the link.

I Never Do Anything Special for My Mom on Mother’s Day

Yes, you read that correctly. I say it with pride because it’s true. My mom and I are close and we spend a lot of time together. I used to take her to the movies when I worked there every week. When I had a steady income, I would buy her dinner and help her pay for groceries. So today for Mother’s Day, I got up early at 7 AM to get her favorite meal: a dozen tamales, barbacoa, corn tortillas, and Big Red. I paid for it and had it ready for her when she woke up. She likes to do family interviews so I got her an old-school tape recorder. After she ate and relaxed, I took her to the movies where we saw “Lowriders” and I went to a movie theater that I rarely ever go to because it was the only one playing it. I did all this for my mom, but like I said it’s nothing special. This is stuff I do for her all the time. I always tell people that I don’t do anything on Mother’s Day for my mom, but they don’t realize how much I do for her on a daily basis. I always tell her, “If you want to celebrate Mother’s Day, then I’m not going to do all this stuff for you all the time. I’ll save it all for Mother’s Day.” She really does appreciate everything I do for her. In my opinion, Mother’s Day is like Valentine’s Day. Do you really need a special holiday to appreciate your mom? That’s something you should be doing every day. I will always cherish the memories I have with my mom because she has always pushed me to do my best and has always been my biggest fan. I love you, Mom.

If you want to know more about my mom, check out her website rosiemini.com

bullet journal monthly page

How My Bullet Journal Changed My Life

Before September 2016, I had never heard of a bullet journal. I was really struggling in my life and I started seeing stuff about bullet journals on Instagram. Right around that time, I think BuzzFeed posted an article about using it for mental health. I decided to check it out and soon I was joining Facebook groups and all my social media started to fill up with different kinds of content. After a couple of months, I started posting my own spreads and people seemed to like them.

A++++

I have always been a disorganized mess. My bullet journal helped me organize some of that mess. I was able to separate everything by categories so I knew what I needed to read or if I need to submit something online. It helped tremendously. Not only did I finish early sometimes, but because I started early I usually able to get the library copy for free which also helped me save money. I’ve always been pretty good in school, but at least I wasn’t writing papers a few hours before they are due anymore.

Time Management

My mother has been trying to get me to use a planner my entire life, and I finally decided that now was a good time to start listening to her. A Bullet Journal is like a planner, journal, organizer, and brain dump. It’s basically a paper version of your brain. If I thought it wouldn’t make me seem neurotic I would probably plan out every single minute of my life. But having reminders and seeing dates on a calendar helped that so that I wasn’t forgetting any events or assignments. I was actually able to sleep most nights, which was a nice change from the all-night paper writing sessions. One thing I learned from all my years of school is that you need to schedule fun. Even if your paper is due the next day when your body is telling you to relax you need to listen. I cannot stress this enough.

Self-Expression

I started writing down little details about my life because who knows, maybe one day someone in my family will dig up my old journals and be fascinated by my daily life. I doubt it, but it’s worth making note of what seems like small things in my journal on the off chance it becomes important. I keep a separate journal to get things off my chest because I am liable to write 20 pages easy and most of the journals I use do not have that many pages. I love writing in my journal because it allows me to be honest with myself. It allows me to deal with the thoughts in my head, clear them out, and start fresh. I think it has helped my mood swings as well, although some people would beg to differ.

Creativity

I’ve always been creative, but as of recently, I didn’t really have a medium to release my creativity. I started painting a few months ago, but I enjoy the doodles and coloring in the stamps. I just enjoy customizing my journal to look the way I want to, which is basically the whole point, and in my opinion the best part, of the bullet journal. I also use different colors for different things because literally, everything in my life is color coded. The bullet journal that I have now reminds me of the journal from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and I love it so much. One day, I’m planning on getting a dotted journal to really serve my creativity because I don’t feel like I’m being as creative as I could be. I love using stamps in my journal, but I really wish I could draw my own stuff. I’m not that creative, but I try my best nonetheless.

My journal has been a good source of coping for me, and if you haven’t heard of it…you’ve been warned. Once you’re in, you are hooked for life. I don’t know what I do without my bullet journal and honestly, it’s a cheap $5 journal I got from Walmart but it’s a representation of my thoughts and who knows maybe one day, I’ll look back on these journals and see how much I’ve grown.

If you would like to get a fancier journal and you are good at drawing freehand, I would recommend getting the Leuchtturm1917. I haven’t used this product yet because I’m waiting to fill up my other journal before buying a new one, but this is the one I plan to get as soon as I’m done.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I will receive a small percentage of your purchase if you click the link.

quitting

3 Things I Learned After Quitting My Job

First, let me give you a little background information on my situation. I got my first job when I was 19, and I had just received my associate’s degree in Psychology. I have been told many, many times that I should have picked a degree that was more useful, but I can’t think of anything more useful than studying how people work and why they act the way they do. I know I’m not alone in this, but I am one of those college students who changed their major at least 5 times. I am the kind of person who is good at lots of things, but really great at nothing. Despite these many changes, I am not one to give up, leave without warning, or quit something because it was too hard.

I worked a movie theater for 4 years, and I loved it. Well, I loved watched 117 free movies over the course of my stay. I did not, however, love the people who would yell, scream, bully me, and I even had several people throw things at me. I felt like a robot, and I wasn’t happy. Which brings us to the first thing I learned.

1. There’s no point in being unhappy about things you can’t change, and no point being unhappy about things you can.

That’s a quote by Dan Harris. It just came to me a week before I quit. It was the last semester before I graduated college and I went to talk to my manager about working fewer hours because I wasn’t going to let a minimum wage job stop me from graduating. I spoke with them in early August about reducing my hours and they agreed to do so. However, that is not what happened. In fact, they moved me to a different department which made me very tired and I had no energy to do homework once I got home from school.

Again, I went to the managers to try to make it work. They agreed to help me, but ultimately that’s not what happened. They did move me back to my original position in the box office, but then they started scheduling me past my availability or keeping me longer than was necessary. My father, at the time, was beginning to get sick and I needed to take care of him. If given the choice to go back and change things, I would have quit sooner. Keep in mind, that I had 3 English classes during this semester, so I would frequently have 2-3 papers plus 400 pages of reading per week.

My dad graciously waited until after my graduation ceremony to go to the hospital because he didn’t want to miss my big moment. My dad ended up having surgery just two days later in December and I was able to be there to take care of him because I quit my job on Thanksgiving.

2. No matter what anyone else thinks, you deserve to be happy.

It doesn’t matter whether you want to be an artist or a writer, we all deserve to be happy with what we do. That may be the downfall of my generation, but at the very least we will die happy and fulfilled. We don’t want to work the rest of lives away, and if we are going to do that it should be something we love to do. Edgar Allen Poe has always been an inspiration to me. Without him, I wouldn’t be an English major. I would rather die poor and happy than to be rich and miserable.

My love of writing and reading and books, in general, has always made me happy, and as someone who has already published a book and plans to write more, I must say: I finally feel happy. Of course, I was writing while I had a job and that’s okay too. I may have even written a few poems while at work about how awful the customers were to me. I never truly stopping writing, but I was missing something.

3. Life goes on, and this too shall pass.

I have always wanted to be a writer since I was a little girl. Despite a number of people who told me I was a great writer, I couldn’t believe them. We are always our own worst critic. I’m a tough critic so it’s hard to please even myself sometimes as you can tell by the 20 rewrites I do for a simple letter to a friend. My decision to quit my job was not easy considering there was a lot at stake, but it was by far the best decision I ever made. It led me to my current passion which is the library. I have begun the process of applying to graduate school to be a librarian, and I started my own mobile library as a way to gain experience and give out the best gift a child can receive: a book.